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common name for a game bird of the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 18 species. Grouse are henlike terrestrial birds, protectively plumaged in shades of red, brown, and gray. The nostrils are entirely hidden by feathers, and the legs are partially or completely feathered.

The most common eastern American grouse is the ruffed grouse (sometimes miscalled partridge or pheasant), Bonasa umbellus, a forest bird noted for the drumming sound made by the male during its elaborate courtship dance. The ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), or snow grouse, is an arctic species that migrates to the NW United States in winter, when its plumage changes from rusty brown to white, matching the snow. Western American grouse include the prairie chicken, Tympanuchus cupido, once common in the East, and the sage grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus. The latter, called also sage hen, sage cock, or cock of the plains, is the largest American grouse (25–30 in./62.5–70 cm long) and so named because its flesh tastes strongly of sage—the result of feeding on sagebrush buds. The males of both these species are distinguished by yellow air sacs on the neck that inflate to an enormous size during courtship. European species include the capercaillie, the largest grouse (roughly the size of turkey), and the black grouse. The red grouse is found in Great Britain.

Striking fluctuations in the abundance of all grouse species occur in intervals of 7 to 10 years. A combination of factors, rather than a single explanation, appears to be the cause for this not entirely understood phenomenon. Fortunately, grouse have high reproductive rates, which enable them to restore their populations after a low-level period.

Grouse are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Galliformes, family Tetraonidae.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any of a number of game birds in the family Tetraonidae having a plump body and strong, feathered legs.


any gallinaceous bird of the family Tetraonidae, occurring mainly in the N hemisphere, having a stocky body and feathered legs and feet. They are popular game birds
References in periodicals archive ?
Despite that--and the fact that I own a setter myself--over the last decade or so I've been hunting a couple of days a year with a couple of men who, despite their relative youth, are quickly approaching legendary status in the grouse hunting fraternity.
To create the customized teas, The Famous Grouse and Owl's Brew teams worked with a small group of some of the country's finest bartenders to develop blends that would complement and accentuate each of the whisky's distinct taste profiles, while also bringing classic British flavors to life as a nod to The Famous Grouse's heritage.
However, livestock have been degrading sage grouse habitat for a century or more.
Emma Heath, marketing manager for distributor Maxxium UK, said: "The Famous Grouse enjoyed a successful Christmas last year and we have a competitive plan in place for 2006.
REGARDING the report on grouse shooting in the Chronicle.
The first map showing the modern distribution of ruffed grouse in Ohio was provided by Chapman and others (1948).
The Famous Grouse is the exclusive spirit supplier to The Open Championship and we have 10 bottles of The Famous Grouse Finest Scotch Whisky and 10 Famous Grouse golf umbrellas as runners-up prizes.
On the fringes of sage grouse range, many populations are in jeopardy of becoming extinct and others have vanished altogether, said Braun, considered by many the preeminent authority on these prairie birds.
The current range of the Gunnison sage grouse is limited to parts of southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah.